Friday, August 12

German ambassador: Ukraine war “pulverized” Germany’s assumptions on engaging Russia

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German Ambassador to the US Emily Haber

German Ambassador to the US Emily Haber said that a strategy of interdependence when engaging Russia has now been “pulverized” by the invasion of Ukraine and resulting fallout.

When asked by CNN’s Jim Sciutto whether “Germany fundamentally misread Vladimir Putin” in past years, here’s how Haber responded:

“It is true that for many decades our strategy rested on the fundamental assumption … that interdependence would produce stability, predictability, and to some extent of a time, even alignment. It was, if you will, our experience with regard to the GDR [the former East Germany] and with reunification and even with regard with the implosion of the Soviet Empire. We now do see that interdependence can actually also produce vulnerability. So this assumption, in effect, has been pulverized.”

Haber also reiterated that the West needs to be united in its messaging against Russian President Vladimir Putin, because “we know, in effect, probably very little about the inner dynamics of his circle.”

Haber also discussed Germany reducing dependence on Russian energy, saying that the country is working at “breakneck speed” and the result will be “irreversible.”

“We have to reduce our dependence on Russian fossil fuels as quickly as we possibly can. … We are now discussing an oil embargo. And Germany is actually pressing for it. There are other options on the table as well, but all of them designed to make sure we are getting out of that dependence. Gas is a more complicated story, because, other than the oil market, it’s not a global market. But we are diversifying — Germany is — at breakneck speed. We are ordering big contracts of LNG, we are building LNG facility storage … And our intention is to get out of Russian gas, let alone oil and coal, as quickly as we possibly can. We need to end that dependence, and it will be irreversible,” she said.

Germany and Qatar on Friday agreed on an energy partnership that may see Doha start supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Berlin in 2024. Earlier this month, Germany started construction works for its first floating LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven, a city and port located in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany.

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